11 October 2013


If you know anything about me, you know that Friday morning coffees are sacred. When I lived in Singapore, I attended a biweekly women’s coffee sometimes biweekly and sometimes just once during the month, depending on my mood. On off weeks and during the times when I craved aloneness, I wandered down to my neighborhood Starbucks and did whatever I fancied.

Sometimes I read, sometimes I wrote, sometimes I completed work so that my weekend was free. Sometimes I picked up coffee displays after some woman’s child had knocked all 40 coffee bags onto the floor and no else bothered to do anything about it. Sometimes I just sat there and thought. Sometimes I just sat there and observed.

Whatever I did, it was what I wanted in the moment, and it was my outlet to recharge.

After moving to PNG, I noticed that being cooped up in an apartment got old really quickly. I didn’t have friends but I did have things I wanted to read, write or work on and the thought of doing those things somewhere other than the red leather loveseat was ideal. So, about a month ago, I reintroduced myself to Friday morning coffee and me time.

Whether traveling a few kilometers toward town and enjoying a cup at Duffy café or having Paul drop me around the corner at one of the Airways’ eateries while he completed his business, I once again found sanity in an excuse to get off the compound, enjoy a beverage and just decompress.

Now that I am back in Singapore, I don’t see why I shouldn’t continue my reinstated tradition, so I Friday made my way to Orchard Road and sat myself at an American Women’s Association coffee. It was great. I got to see a couple people I have known throughout my time in Singapore, and I got to meet a few new faces.

Much like my last few coffees before the move, I wasn’t really interested in finding any new friends. I have a nice sized group going and I don’t live here anymore so I did not have a legitimate reason to expand my circle. But, as always seems to happen, I made a new friend. I started calling myself a yenta until I Googled the term and realized that said person is a gossiper and not a friend matchmaker like I had originally thought. So, not a yenta. Just a friend collector.

Katy, a lively, bright-eyed newlywed dressed ever so perfectly, came in after I did and sat at the opposite end of the table so, though we made eye contact and I contributed to a conversation or two, we really didn’t connect. As the coffee drew to a close and some of the women started to make their way off to whatever they had planned, I thought I might have a chance at getting to know Katy a little better over lunch.

Instead of eating with the other ladies, we decided to venture out on our own. Once I learned that Katy had only been in Singapore for the week, I figured if we were to go anywhere it needed to be Plain Vanilla Bakery so that she could be introduced to the island’s best cupcakes. You know how good they are from my many, many posts.

We made our way down Orchard and into the MRT station. I have no idea why I instinctively took her that way – my brain was on autopilot. I quickly began realizing that I had lost all knowledge of effective travel routes. The first sign that we were not making the best decision happened as we were making our way into the building.

Katy was dressed in a beautiful full-length black sundress perfect for Singapore’s heat. We stepped onto the first of two escalators that led us into Singapore’s illustrious underground and, before we could make an about face and step onto the consecutive escalator, Katy was stuck. Well, her dress was stuck, at the bottom of the escalator where the steps are sucked into the teeth.

We quickly moved to the side just as everyone following on the steps behind us jumped over so as not to collide. We tried pulling the dress out of the teeth but, with the belt moving toward the teeth, that wasn’t doing much good. We tried tugging, pulling, twisting, nothing. Neither of us had scissors. Concerned onlookers tried to help but no one could offer anything that would solve the issue.

Eventually Katy exclaimed, “I will just tear the dress!” Like no big deal, she was able to make a hole using the escalator’s teeth and then began ripping a chunk from her floor-length dress.

“Please tell me that is a cheapo from Target,” I said, feeling awful.

“Oh, yeah,” she said gleefully, “totally from Target.”

After five or so tugs and rips, Katy was free. We moved on to the next escalator, Katy with her dress in her hands. Speaking of hands, ours were covered in escalator grease. Since our hands were only on Kay’s dress, I am not sure how we managed to get it all over us but we did – my hands, arms and purse, Katy’s hands, legs and arms up to her shoulders. It was a bit of a crazy mess but, luckily, the grease left our bodies with a little standard hand soap.

The rest of the afternoon was quite enjoyable. I learned that Katy’s husband had spent three months in Singapore and that Katy had joined him a week ago, when they married. They had their wedding, celebrated with family and friends and then hopped on a plane to learn what it means to be married and to live with someone in another country.

We enjoyed some great Mediterranean food at one of my favorites, Al Qasar, before introducing Katy to the wonder that is Plain Vanilla. Though Al Qasar had been completely remodeled and modernized, PVB was the same as when I left: tiny interior with room for only one person between the door and the cupcakes, a display case filled with perfectly straight rows of perfectly manicured cupcakes in a dozen different flavors and smiling faces ready to fill cardboard boxes with the most amazing mini cakes.

Lucky for me, Katy appeared to love the cupcakes so I did not make a liar of myself.

On my way back to Megan’s house I realized once again that I have simply lost all ability to determine the most efficient way to get where I am going. First, on the way to Holland Village, I should have just grabbed a cab from the coffee site. We needed to be on the same road in the direction opposite from where we walked.

Then, when I left Holland Village, I got on the right train in the wrong direction. I then chose the smart train for the southern route but I went more stops than I needed to land myself in a station that was still a good 12-minute walk to Megan’s – a.k.a. not the closest MRT station. As the week progressed, I began to place the right names with the correct locations I pictured inside my head (like the time I kept saying Somerset when I was picturing Dhoby Ghaut).

Once I parted ways with Katy I did with Katy what I always do – I introduced her to my friends. We all had a dinner planned a few nights later so Katy and her architect husband who I may refer to as “Ted” were happy to come along and meet some younger expat faces.

Dinner was fantastic but I will tell you more about that in my next post.

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